Posted July 2, 2014
Historically, many dentists have automatically extracted wisdom teeth as soon as they emerge. But now dental professionals believe that sometimes there is greater wisdom in allowing people to keep these third molars until oral problems occur.
Mayo Clinic reports that it may not be necessary to remove wisdom teeth if they are:
- healthy and completely erupted (through the gum tissue)
- correctly positioned with surrounding teeth and not causing bite issues
- easily cleaned daily with toothbrushing and flossing
Many people experience problems with their wisdom teeth when they remain hidden or partially emerge through the gums. Often in these situations, the teeth become impacted or trapped in the jaw. Dental experts say that once wisdom teeth break through the gum tissue, but don’t fully emerge, bacteria can settle into this area and cause gum disease and oral infection.
The American Dental Association recommends removing wisdom teeth when:
- patients experience pain with their wisdom teeth
- infection develops in the gum tissue around or near the wisdom tooth/teeth
- adjacent teeth are damaged
- there are signs of tumors, cysts, gum disease or excessive tooth decay
Wisdom tooth extraction
If your dentist recommends you have your wisdom teeth removed, you may be referred to an oral surgeon for the procedure. Usually patients are given a local or general anesthetic to numb the area before each tooth is pulled. Sometimes the gum may be cut, and the tooth broken up into several pieces, in order to safely remove it from the jaw. After surgery, you may experience swelling and discomfort, which may last from three days to two weeks. But in the long run, it’s worth it.